In the latest video for his personal YouTube channel, Tekken series director Katsuhiro Harada spoke at length about this week’s release of Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown, sharing that he’s always viewed surpassing Sega’s foundational 3D fighting series as a personal goal.
“There was an 11-year gap [between releases], but I’ve been thinking about [Virtua Fighter] for over 25 years,” Harada told an off-screen producer. “I’ve been making fighting games for about 27 years. So, the whole time, you know? I’ve been thinking about it for a long time.”
Harada took over as the director of the Tekken franchise with 1997’s Tekken 3. At the time, Virtua Fighter was still considered the undisputed king of 3D fighting games among serious players, making it a perfect target for a young upstart looking to make his mark on the genre. That said, when asked by his Bandai Namco superiors how long it would take Tekken to overtake Virtua Fighter in terms of financial success and popularity, Harada didn’t bullshit, instead proposing a lofty timeframe of at least 10 years.
“Virtua Fighter was like that at the time,” Harada said. “When I told them it’d take at least 10 years, they said, ‘Then keep making it until then.’ I made up my mind. I was helping other titles too, but I could make Tekken for 10 years. I thought, ‘I’ll do my best to beat them!’ [Beating Virtua Fighter] was a target for me.”